handmade greeting cards, collage artIf there’s an up side to rapid cycling, it’s that nothing last for long.  I get a few days now to reengage and refocus.

What I learned in the hospital this time around, is that being a social animal is required.  Solitude may feel safer, but it’s really just another compulsion that I must push against.  So, when these easier days come, I can look at how to do that.

I’m big on making plans.  My journals are full of lists, Things To Do, strategies, and abandoned schemes.  Over time, they’ve become less grandiose, more tempered, a little more grounded in my reality.  But still they trail behind me like toilet paper on my shoe—a reminder to wake up a little more before taking that first step.

What matters, I think, is making the effort.  Nothing changes unless we can envision it and then move in that direction.  It takes muscle.  This week I’m doing what a social animal does—making calls, meeting friends, dropping by on my way to somewhere else.  I’m choosing to engage.

And as I build up a little momentum, other actions become easier—working on my new collage at night instead of eating my way through a DVD, cleaning my apartment, going back to the Y late in the day for a second workout.  And after holding the question for a few days now, I’ve decided to go back to TOPS.  It’s a social group, which is what I’m to be working on, and if it helps me lose weight, so much the better.

I wrestled long and hard on my compulsive eating last year, then gave up when my bipolar symptoms went into overdrive.  It feels good to come back to this, to reengage this particular tension, to put my strong shoulder against the thing and push.  I hope to do it a little differently, with less black and white thinking, with more gentleness, but with definite action.  It will take more mindfulness than I’ve practiced lately.  It will take willingness to keep returning whenever the compulsion takes over.  Just like I’m doing now.  Returning.  As gentle as that.

These in-between days are always full of revelations, inspiration and fresh starts.  Most of them fall by the bipolar wayside, but a few survive for a while.  It all depends on me, where I put my intent and what actions I take.  Talk is cheap.  Ideas are easy.  The proof is in the doing.

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jonathan Caswell
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 17:47:46

    GOOD GIRL!!!! 🙂


  2. Jonathan Caswell
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 17:48:39

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:


  3. Littlesundog
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 08:02:19

    Oooh, how is it you speak to me when I need a little push? I just made time to have lunch with some old friends today. I’m dreading the outing, but these are two, supportive people who have stood by me for a long time. I know I will come home feeling refreshed and happy. I too, tend to envelope myself in the security and solitude of home. Making the effort to be more social almost always turns out way more wonderful than I envisioned.

    Thanks for inspiring me to get out there today… I’m braving 100+ degree heat to boot!


  4. Snoring Dog Studio
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 08:04:10

    You inspire me. I, too, have to fight with my overwhelming desire to isolate myself. I really have to do something to change that. It won’t be easy. I prefer my company to almost everyone else’s.


    • Sandy Sue
      Jul 12, 2013 @ 15:08:27

      What I heard in the hospital is that we must choose the right people. Go for the people you admire and would like to emulate, the folks who are easy and supportive. It’s like turning in the direction of the sun.


  5. pegoleg
    Jul 10, 2013 @ 11:54:04

    Interesting that you need to make a conscious decision to interact with others – that sounds like a good call.

    I imagine those social skills are like my muscles after a week away from the Y. I had to strain a bit last night to get through what used to be easy, but soon it will be easy again.


    • Sandy Sue
      Jul 12, 2013 @ 15:12:18

      I hope it’s like riding a bike, Peg, but my guess is it won’t be that easy. Most of the folks in my post-hospital support group have some form of social avoidance issue, as do many of the folks I’ve met blogging. It’s a symptom, like the rest of the goodie bag o’fun we get to carry around. Just one more piece of work.


  6. LindaNoel
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 19:37:47

    Hot Damn, Sandy Sue, I LOVE how you express what you express…in part because it’s so my-own-stuff-struggles, but the other part is how you write. Big Hug to Sandy Sue the Writer !
    Doing, doing, doing…I’ve had my heels dug in resisting Doing especially these last couple of months…just now changing meds a bit, back to Lamictrogine now with Ibuprion I hope will level me a bit…been “all over the place” but seems like Purposely Refusing to DO…what I need to do to feel/be alive. Sigh. So all I read here helps so much. Thank you all.


    • Sandy Sue
      Jul 26, 2013 @ 15:39:00

      It’s the hardest thing to do what needs to be done. Going to group therapy these last few months has really hammered that home. We put up such a fight, and deny and make excuses. Not because our suffering isn’t real, but because it takes such effort to dig ourselves out. Baby steps, girlfriend.


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